|Address of Gratitude of the Chaun Lyu Foundataion|
September 11, 1991
at the Wilberforce Room, St. John's College, Cambridge
: Address of gratitude to the Chuan Lyu Foundation
By : Professor David L. McMullen
is a delight to celebrate the generosity of the Chuan
Lyu Foundation to Cambridge this evening and to welcome
Dr. Lee Hwalin and Ms. Sue Liu on their brief visit
here. The Foundation does not court publicity and
this is not the occasion for a long speech. But this
evening should not pass without an expression of thanks.
From well before Dr.
Lee's visit, I have found the name Chuan Lyu a very
evocative one. It suggests "the river flows [without
ceasing]". It is, we have learnt this evening, the
given name of Dr. Lee's grandfather. But as if that
were not honor enough, the image that it evokes also
has, in its own right, ancient and enduring associations
in Chinese culture, and it is these that I would like
to draw on briefly.
China is a country of
great rivers. From early times they have been the
subject of many comments. Confucius himself stood
on the banks of a river and remarked, "See how it
flows on and on. It sets aside neither day not night
[for rest]." Indeed to us this evening, this seems
a particularly apt quotation, because we have learnt
that Dr. Lee is tireless, and like the river that
Confucius surveyed, before sparing time to come to
Cambridge for this brief visit, worked so hard that
he set aside neither day nor night for rest.
Rivers, especially the
famous rivers of China, may be thought of as great
and potent symbols. In the first place, they suggest
the endless passage of time, powerful and inexorable
in their ceaseless flow from the mountains of the
far west to the China sea. They stand for China herself,
a great civilization, an uninterrupted tradition that
passes through adversity and that no force may interrupt.
But rivers also affect
men's lives on a more individual level. They are the
source of fertility and irrigation. They can be channeled
and led forth. And from early times the Chinese have
built dams and diverted rivers, to the great benefit
of the land its yield. Here it is man's intervention
that has been crucial, and that has made the difference
between prosperity and dearth.